Thailand's prime minister has refused to resign ahead of national elections set for February 2, despite opposition demands she step down as the caretaker head of government.
Yingluck Shinawatra spoke the day after she announced elections - on the same day the main opposition leader ended a massive protest rally of 150,000 people by insisting his movement had now assumed broad political power.
Ms Yingluck told reporters: "I must do my duty as caretaker prime minister according to the constitution. After the parliament is dissolved there must be elections according to the constitution. Then, the newly elected prime minister can assume his or her position".
As night fell on the hundreds of thousands of protesters still outside government buildings in Bangkok, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban made a speech to his supporters, calling for the prime minister to step down.
Mr Thaugsuban said Yingluck Shinawatra's government corrupt and incompetent and has called for a "people's council" of appointed "good people" to replace the government. He said:
"From this minute onwards, all Thais have taken power back for the people."
Thailand's ruling party said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra would run in the upcoming general election after she dissolved parliament earlier today.
"She will definitely run as she has worked with the party all along. We dissolved parliament because we are confident ... We want the Democrat Party to take part in elections and not to play street games," Jarupong Ruangsuwan, head of Yingluck's Puea Thai Party, told reporters.
Mass anti-government demonstrations are taking place in Bangkok despite the Prime Minister's announcement that she will dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections in an attempt to calm the country's deepening political crisis.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban and leader of the main Democrat opposition party Abhisit Vejjajiva, were among the demonstrators.
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has dissolved the lower house of Parliament and called for elections in an attempt to calm the country's deepening political crisis.
Ms Yingluck's announcement came as thousands of anti-government protesters vowed to march through Bangkok in a "final showdown" against her government.
She said: "There will be new elections according to the democratic system", but did not set a date.
"After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve parliament," Ms Yingluck said in a televised statement. "There will be new elections according to the democratic system."
Thai anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said today that he will continue the fight to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, despite a government decision earlier not to confront protesters.
"Today we won a partial victory but we will fight on until the Thaksin regime has been driven out," he said in a speech to supporters, a reference to the influence Yingluck's brother, former premier Thaksin Shinwatra.
Earlier, the government ordered police to stand down and allow protesters into state buildings, removing a flashpoint for clashes and effectively bringing an end to days of violence in Bangkok in which five people have died.